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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will help Uzbekistan to build a 100MW solar project, the country's first utility-scale solar power plant.

ADB will lend US$110 million from its Asian development fund to the ‘Samarkand Solar Power Project’ in Samarkand.  

A further US$200 million of funding is to come from Uzbekistan’s Fund for Reconstruction and Development, and Uzbekenergo, the governing body for supplying electricity in Uzbekistan. Uzbekenergo, which is responsible for half of central Asia’s energy generation capacity, will manage the solar project and other related facilities.

The Samarkand project will take five years to develop and construct, with a completion date of 2019. The project is will be used to promote large-scale solar power in the country and tackle recent power shortages. It will also diversify Uzbekistan’s energy mix which is currently heavily reliant on fossil fuels.

The International Solar Energy Institute (ISEI), a training centre for solar technicians in East Africa, will be responsible for capacity building, as well as other stakeholders. Uzbekistan is aiming to be the region's solar energy hub and leader in solar technology. The ISEI is to help Uzbekistan in reaching this ambition. 

Uzbekistan posseses large land areas with high solar irradiance as well as the highly skilled human resources needed to become a "major player in solar energy development in this region", said ADB president, Takehiko Nakao during the sixth meeting of the Asia Solar Energy Forum in Tashkent.

“This project will be the largest of its kind in central Asia and one of the largest in the world,” said Nakao.

ADB is a co-organiser for the Asia Solar Energy Forum, founded in 2012 specifically for promoting solar energy investment in Asia and the Pacific.

The project will aid Uzbekistan’s government target of 21% renewable energy generation by 2031.